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Exhibit a glimpse into Civil War
Photo supplied Civil War records, books, letters and equipment will be on display at the Lafayette County Historical Museum. The artifacts will be on display from 1 to 4 p.m. daily. There is no charge for admission to the museum.
DARLINGTON - A letter from an Argyle soldier during the Civil War is just one of the items on display at the Lafayette County Historical Museum's permanent Civil War exhibit, which opens Saturday.

Andrew Harris was an 18-year-old soldier who served under the command of Gen. Ulysses S. Grant during the siege at Vicksburg, Miss., in 1863. The siege lasted for several months before the Confederacy's troops surrendered.

In the letter to his family, Harris described his life in the army. He told his family he was hungry and homesick.

Harris died a year later at the age of 19, possibly from malaria, while serving in Louisiana, according to information at the museum.

The museum's exhibit gives people a chance to see what life was like for soldiers in the war.

Museum curator Fran Fink said the items in the museum were gathered over a few years from people in Lafayette County. The items are in two rooms at the museum. The items on display include letters, diaries, photos, books and equipment used by the soldiers.

Fink said the museum is willing to accept more artifacts.

"It's a work in progress," Fink said. "More items will be added and a new display case will be built."

Outside the museum is a 56-foot high - including the base - statue of a union soldier.

Some of the letters and diaries include accounts of Union soldiers who were held prisoner in Andersonville, Ga. During the war, thousands of Union soldiers died at the prison from starvation and filthy living conditions. The prison camp was so notorious that at the end of the war, its commandant was hanged as a war criminal by the United States government.

The Civil War exhibit opens with a poetry reading at 1:30 p.m. Saturday. Retired teacher James Ronnerud, Darlington, will talk about the stories he heard as a young man about his great-great-grandfather, who was captured by the Confederacy in July 1864 and spent two months at Andersonville.

The museum, 55 Main St., is open from 1 to 4 p.m., seven days a week. There is no charge for admission.